Mayor Touts Waze App to Avoid Casey Mess

Screen grab of Waze traffic app on Monday, March 16, 2015

Waze.com

Screen grab of Waze traffic app on Monday, March 16, 2015

It might come as little comfort to people who live near Jamaica Plain’s version of the Big Dig, but Mayor Marty Walsh suggests downloading a socially-driven traffic app to navigate around the Casey Arborway project.

The city recently entered a data-sharing agreement with Waze, a traffic app owned by Google. During a roundtable with local press last week, Walsh offered this advice about the Casey project: “Try to avoid it.”

Melina Schuler of the Mayor’s Office followed up on Monday with more details, saying the city’s Traffic Management Center “will be closely monitoring traffic in the area and making traffic signal adjustments to help offset congestion during demolition and construction.”

While the massive effort is a Massachusetts Department of Transportation project, it takes place on city streets.

The city recommends drivers download the Waze app to help them find routes away from the construction zone. The city will not only be using data from its hundreds of intersection cameras, but also information from Waze to adjust signal timing.

Of course, a primary worry of residents near the Casey project is that tons of traffic will try to find shortcuts on their neighborhood streets. Last week in a public meeting, project engineers said they’ll compare pre-construction traffic counts with cut-throughs drivers find as the project continues.

“If there’s a specific detour people are choosing to use, we will take a look,” said Gary McNaughton, the project’s traffic engineer.

He said if people are using a cut-through for, say, three days, there’s not much the Department of Transportation can do. But if any streets emerge as consistent detours, engineers would address the situation.

MassDOT said last week they will start to hold regular office hours at Curtis Hall Community Center for any residents who want to come ask questions about the Casey project. The first such session is 5:30-7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24.

See all our Casey Overpass/Casey Arborway coverage here.

  • mjb918

    Thanks Mr. Mayor for suggesting a bot direct traffic. That will save the BPD and DOT hours, days, weeks in hourly pay for human intervention.

    And what about the three streets in Stonybrook coming off Washington that connect through the neighborhood to Rt 203 that aren’t signalized? There’s no “adjusting” those. We’ve been asking for help from the City for over a two years recognizing that there will be inordinate traffic pressure on the neighborhood. The “Traffic Study” MassDOT did were “turn count” numbers collected on, 2/3/14, and “Automatic Traffic Recording” (those black hoses you see laid over the road) one day in early in April last year. I looked at the counts and found they didn’t account for two-way traffic on at least one street, which was evident from a differential in those turn count numbers. Several neighbors have also witnessed illegal turns made to cut through the area as drivers willfully break the law to avoid traffic. And this is before the real mess is fully underway.

    As a note to neighbors; you can “game” Waze and indicate that there’s a traffic problem such as an accident, or construction on a street you’d like to dissuade cut-throughs on.

    • Nicholas Zahn

      You actually can’t ‘game’ waze that way. Having an accident or hazard marked only has waze interrogate the street’s speed more. Routing relies on speed data, which is much harder to spoof.

      • mjb918

        I know how Waze works. the idea is to dissuade cut-throughs by making it appear there are obstacles to easy passing. that’s gaming.

        • Nicholas Zahn

          The waze routing engine doesn’t consider accidents or hazards at all, let alone as ‘obstacles’.

          • mjb918

            yes yes, thanks for your input from afar. I’m sure Waze appreciates that you have its back and can set the record straight by being simultaneously obtuse and pedantic.

          • hydesquare

            Nicholas, I don’t usually agree with mjb918 because their posts are generally paranoid and ludicrous (read some of its rants) but what I think the loon is attempting to say is that if you tell waze there’s a massive traffic backup on X street that report will show up in real time on the maps and it’s likely that someone who reads it at that moment will seek an alternate route.

          • mjb918

            “rants”? “generally paranoid and ludicrous”? “loon”? Cite examples. Your statement is libelous and that’s neither paranoid, nor ludicrous. Tread lightly gray-face.

          • JamaicaPlainNews

            Thanks, mjb918. I’d meant to ask hydesquare not to make personal attacks in the comment section here at Jamaica Plain News. We’re all neighbors, but let’s try to disagree without being disagreeable.

          • hydesquare

            So sue me, you silly psycho